Well, chalk another one up to our never ending story file. We are currently back in the U.S. and Walmart bound!!!!! We found an awesome AP Biology class for homeschoolers taught by an esteemed prof at Appalachian State University. It is a live-in class (for a week) consisting of 40 hours of labs with follow-up work afterwards when the students go home. An answer to prayer for the non-scientific mama. Also, the thrifty mama, I decided that I couldn't send my baby off to the wild blue yonder and another continent to someplace and some people I hadn't even met, so, we decided to make it an adventure and use Space A for the first time. Leaving Dad home with the baby boy (who had interestingly acquired a job harvesting grapes for a local winery), the girls were off to adventures unknown.
Now, for my non-military readers, Space-A is a system the military uses to fill flights that may have extra seats with both active duty, dependents, and retirees. It may be on all kinds of planes, including the C-17 that we flew on below, otherwise known as a boat in the sky!!!! Huge!!
We arrived at Ramstein on Tuesday afternoon, and didn't get a flight out till Thursday. Flexibility is the key when flying this way. Flights get changed, cancelled, delayed over and over. I had drilled this into the kiddos heads so many times that there would be disappointments in this process. Truly, it is a BIG GAME of HURRY UP AND WAIT!!! In these 3 days, I got to know several of the retirees that were also waiting. Amazing stories - ALL of them. We even had one 90 year old WWII vet (second from the left above) who served in the Battle of the Bulge!! Can you believe? Still going strong! Flying for 9 hours in a jump seat!!!! Amazing!
The cargo on this flight was what looked to be generators and pallets of who knows what.
My girls sacked out. I apologize for the blurriness of this photo. This was also how my head felt after waiting for a flight for 48 hours (and that would be ALL hours of the day and night.)
Finally, we were chosen for this flight to Dover and they took all 19 passengers aboard the bus to go out to the plane on the runway, we were made to wait for a while so they could load our most important passenger, a fallen hero from the desert. What a humbling experience to watch this process. The pride in MY military and country swelled in my throat as I gazed on. The utmost respect, care, and salutes were given as it was loaded, and such valued passengers are always placed at the front of the plane.
I wondered about his story. His parents and family. Where were they waiting for him? I prayed for them as they are no doubt drowning in their grief and heartbreak. I don't know his name, but our crew did. They knew the story of this hero, and where he was going.
And speaking of our crew!! It truly is NOT their job to take care of us in any way. But they do it. And do it well. This plane was not a passenger plane. They are trained to take care of the equipment they transport. We were allowed access to the cockpit and the pilots (babies that they were). Today's military just keeps getting younger and younger.
We got off the plane in Dover, took a cab to a hotel, passed out, arose refreshed (not!) the next morning, got a rental car and phones that work on this continent, and drove through Washington D.C. to my buddy's house in Stafford, where, the jet lag monster promptly took over. Ugh!!! I was so disappointed in my stamina as we weren't able to catch up like I wanted.
Then finally Sunday, we arrived at our goal and deposited Baby #1 at her class in the gorgeous mountains ablaze with autumn color in North Carolina. The other students came from all over the country (I hear one even came from Germany).
And the mama collapsed back at the hotel.